David Christopherson : biography
Rae resigned as party leader in 1996, and there was considerable media speculation that Christopherson would run to succeed him. Toronto Star journalist Thomas Walkom indicated that he would be a powerful candidate on the centrist wing of the party, and would likely win the support of pro-Rae trade unions such as the Steelworkers.Thomas Walkom, "NDP needs an identity as well as a leader", Toronto Star, 16 January 1996, A15. He decided against running and gave his support to Howard Hampton, the eventual winner."Hampton to seek NDP leadership", Globe and Mail, 20 February 1996, A11.
Christopherson was a prominent supporter of Hamilton’s amalgamation with neighbouring municipalities in the late 1990s."Just one MPP opposes H-W supercity", Hamilton Spectator, 4 December 1996, A11. The policy, which was supported by some members of all three major parties, was enacted by the Progressive Conservative government of Mike Harris in 2000. Christopherson considered leaving politics to run for the leadership of the Ontario Federation of Labour in 1997, but ultimately declined."Race for top post reveals crack in house of labour", Toronto Star, 1 November 1997, p. 1.
The Hamilton Centre riding was eliminated by redistribution in 1996, and Christopherson chose to contest the expanded riding of Hamilton West for the 1999 provincial election against incumbent Progressive Conservative Lillian Ross. He was re-elected, and became one of only nine New Democrats returned to the reduced 103-seat legislature. He served as his party’s Finance and Labour Critic, and was appointed as House Leader."Hampton announces critic portfolios", Canada NewsWire, 28 June 1999, 15:14 report. He considered campaigning for Mayor of Hamilton in 2000, but reluctantly declined.Eric Mcguinness, "Morrow throws his hat into the ring", Hamilton Spectator, 31 May 2000, A01.
Christopherson resigned as NDP House Leader in 2001, amid rumours of a rift with Hampton.Richard Brennan, "Signs of rift in NDP as house leader quits", 19 April 2001, A11. He continued to serve as his party’s critic for Consumer and Business Services and the Management Board of Cabinet, and was a deputy speaker in the legislature from 2001 to 2003.